Another interesting find is Tinariwen - a band of nomadic touareg warriors from Southern Sahara who recently decided to have a career change and go into music. They play what they call "desert blues" - several electric guitars playing simple pentatonic riffs over handclaps, footstomps and ululations. Their last album made it onto the Pitchfork's list of 50 greatest albums of 2007 at number 50, and it's the only one I heard on that list.
The band's name means "empty places" which certainly reflects their desert homeland. Forced from their nomadic life in the Sahara, they were fighters in the Touareg insurgency against the Malian government. So, the band formed in 1982 in Colonel Ghadaffi's rebel camps.
The Libyan leader recruited this nation-less and disenfranchised people with promises to help them in their cause. Ghadaffi implied that he would train the Kel Tamashek and provide weapons to fight for their independence from the Malian government, but eventually the stateless rebels slowly realized that Ghadaffi's only intention was to use these fierce fighters in his own wars...
They have combined traditional musical forms with a modern rebellious and radical rock sensibility -- traditional instruments such as the teherdent lute and shepherd flute were discarded in favor of the electric guitar, electric bass and drums.
Their Music is loosely based on traditional Touareg music and the harsh melodies of the one-stringed Touareg violin, but also incorporates influences such as Bob Marley together with the other disparate influences, both western and middle eastern, which managed to penetrate that far into the desert.
The Radio Tisdas Sessions, 2000: rapidshare, 74mb; rapidshare, 99mb.
Amassakoul ("Traveller"), 2004: rapidshare 98mb; filesend, 58mb; rapidshare, 67mb; badongo, 67mb.
Aman Iman: Water is Life, 2007: megaupload, 65mb; zshare, 73mb; badongo, 51mb.